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Communications of the ACM

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The blog archive provides access to past blog postings from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

October 2014


From Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Picking Good Variable Names

Picking Good Variable Names

Actually picking any sort of name is important in programming but we can focus on variable names for a bit. The CS Teaching Tips team tweets and posts a lot of great suggestions. Today they send out a tip about variable names


From Computational Complexity

Martin Gardner Centennial

Martin Gardner was born on October 21, 1914, so today is his Centennial (he died on May 22, 2010, at the age of 95). We've mentioned him in the blog before:

  1.  The Life of Martin Gardner
  2.  Contribute to the Gardner Centennial


From Schneier on Security

More Crypto Wars II

More Crypto Wars II

FBI Director James Comey again called for an end to secure encryption by putting in a backdoor. Here's his speech: There is a misconception that building a lawful intercept solution into a system requires a so-called "back door


From Computational Complexity

Algorithms that never get coded up

(There was a passing ref to this topic in the comments to one of Scott's blogs, so I thought I would pick up the theme.) When I teach Formal Lang Theory I end up teaching them many algorithms that I don't think are ever coded


From The Eponymous Pickle

Getting to Know the Chief Data Officer

Getting to Know the Chief Data Officer

Working with the complexity of data and its application to analytics is increasingly complex." ... The transformative power of data and analytics is being harnessed by organizations to make smarter, quicker and more analytically


From The Eponymous Pickle

AI Becomes Cognitive. Is it Now Ready for Sustained Value?

AI Becomes Cognitive. Is it Now Ready for Sustained Value?

Is AI finally ready to roll?  Again? Spent years in the 90s working on it, with successes but also ultimately descent into a winter of discontent.  Back then there were a small number of well funded startups that drove the efforts


From The Eponymous Pickle

Web Style Analytics in the Retail Store

Web Style Analytics in the Retail Store

Good Forrester report, requires registration." ... Retail stores have been living in the analytical "dark ages" in comparison to digital channels, using metrics that rarely take into account customer behavior. But new advances


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

Future Directions for NSF Advanced Computing Infrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) carry out a study examining anticipated priorities for advanced computing infrastructure in support of NSF-sponsored science and engineering…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Channels Become Apps as Advertising Changes Forever

Channels Become Apps as Advertising Changes Forever

In Adage:   Remarkable piece about the conversion to digital TV happening now, and how it will change advertising.  And create a new flood of advertising data.    " ... The start of TV unbundling is upon us, with HBO and CBSSlowly


From Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Decision Trees–Possible Interesting Coding Project

Decision Trees–Possible Interesting Coding Project

I found this interesting flowchart for determining where one should eat Thanksgiving. It’s pretty complete which also means it’s complicated. I guess if you know the answers it is not too bad to follow. If you just want to see


From The Eponymous Pickle

Chef Watson as an Advisor

Chef Watson as an Advisor

Just received early access to IBM's Chef Watson Beta this past week.  I have been testing, not for recipe development, but with an eye to how it's structure could be adapted to other advisory systems. Also, how it really differs


From The Eponymous Pickle

Online Replacing In Store Browsing

Online Replacing In Store Browsing

The results of an Ipsos and Google survey and report.  " ... Whether through a laptop at work or a smartphone before bed or in-store, online searches continue to replace much of the shopper discovery process that comes from in


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

NIST Global City Teams Challenge Report

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched their Global City Teams Challenge with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm last month.  The workshop ended with more than a dozen presentations by potential…


From Schneier on Security

How Did the Feds Identity Dread Pirate Roberts?

How Did the Feds Identity Dread Pirate Roberts?

Last month, I wrote that the FBI identified Ross W. Ulbricht as the Silk Road's Dread Pirate Roberts through a leaky CAPTCHA. Seems that story doesn't hold water: The FBI claims that it found the Silk Road server by examining


From Computer Science Teacher – Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Interesting Links 19 October 2014

Interesting Links 19 October 2014

You know those school weeks with lots of interruptions, strange schedules and little normal routine? Yep, had one last week. I also managed to record a good number of Office Mixes on various programming topics. I’ll post a list


From The Eponymous Pickle

Invention of Google Scholar

Invention of Google Scholar

Now ten years old.    Contains 160 million documents. " ... Making the world’s problem solvers 10% more efficient ... Ten years after a Google engineer empowered researchers with Scholar, he can’t bear to leave it  .. " " ... Some


From The Eponymous Pickle

Redesigning Bill Gates Favorite Data Visualization

Redesigning Bill Gates Favorite Data Visualization

From Perceptual Edge:  A 3D Treemap is at the link ..." .... Colorful space filling graphs are visually attractive, they do gather your attention.  But are they good ways to visualize data and really understand it?  It is still


From The Eponymous Pickle

Free Piston Engines

Free Piston Engines

Toyota's remarkable new approach to the gas piston engine, the first in 134 years.  I was truck by the visuals used.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Forecasting Net Site and Blog on Ebola

Forecasting Net Site and Blog on Ebola

George Boretos, Strategy & Marketing ExpertJust posted an update, including the most recent cases for October and a forecast of the expected Ebola deaths and mortality rate, also based on actual data up to Oct 1st 2014. ....The


From The Eponymous Pickle

Autodesk Prints 3D Virus

Autodesk Prints 3D Virus

Did not know that Autodesk had a genetic engineer.  Worked with them in the area of displaying marketing data for the enterprise.  From 3D Print: " ... Weaving his way through a virtually invisible and widely unknown world of


From The Eponymous Pickle

History of Mail and Things Communicating

History of Mail and Things Communicating

Recall using mail on the Arpanet in those early days, but it was never seen then as a means to stay generally connected.  Only to answer very specific questions.Network Trailblazer: A Conversation with Eric AllmanEric AllmanIf


From The Eponymous Pickle

Smart Systems Services

Smart Systems Services

Brought to my attention.  Nothing very new here, but a good overview of the topic.  Enabling Smart System Services in Smart Cities by Dr. Ko-Yang Wang, CTO and Executive Vice President Institute for Information Industry With


From The Eponymous Pickle

Need for Practical Anthropology

Need for Practical Anthropology

While I was at the enterprise we had precisely, and rather informally, one anthropologist.  Was always fascinated by the role.  Understanding human behavior is important, but is retail behavior in their realm?  So do we needExperienta


From The Eponymous Pickle

Robotic Explorers

Robotic Explorers

Without sensors or GPS a group of robots can explore.  " .... The system uses stereo vision depth-sensing to provide the obstacle map, and other image-processing methods to identify and track all the agents in the system.The


From Putting People First

Hospitable Hospice, Redesigning Care for Tomorrow

Hospitable Hospice, Redesigning Care for Tomorrow

Design for good death Hospitable Hospice, Redesigning Care for Tomorrow An IDEA 2014 Award winner research project Free download: issuu, pdf Existing healthcare systems can make the end-of-life experience more frustrating and


From Putting People First

Event: Why the world needs anthropologists

Event: Why the world needs anthropologists

An upcoming event is encouraging anthropologists to “come out of their ivory towers” and work more closely with their colleagues in the field, in order to bridge the gap between “pure” and “applied” anthropology. The international


From Putting People First

Update on EU research on energy efficient built environments

Update on EU research on energy efficient built environments

The European Commission funds research on a lot of important thematic areas, and in recent years the themes of sustainability and participatory approaches have received a lot of attention. This has made way for companies like


From The Eponymous Pickle

Stop Controlling Ex Employees Knowledge?

Stop Controlling Ex Employees Knowledge?

In the HBR:   This issue has come up a number of times recently.  Here a  good overview of the topic.  Not everyone agrees.   The coverage of the legal, compliance and regulatory knowledge by US state is particularly interesting


From The Eponymous Pickle

Marketing and the Internet of Things

Marketing and the Internet of Things

It is about data.  Its about reach.    Anna Russell writes:" .... Let’s take a step back and look at just what the Internet of Things contains that might excite marketers.  IoT, the result of a growing number of M2M and internet


From The Eponymous Pickle

IPad Friendly Kid Augmented Reality Game

IPad Friendly Kid Augmented Reality Game

Have seen a number of augmented reality games.   These use real world spaces as a playing field. Here Osmo has received considerable funding." ... Osmo, the iPad-powered gaming device built by former Googlers (and dads) as aThe

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